Former Instagram CEO on why he quit Facebook: 'No one ever leaves a job because everything's awesome'

  • Former Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom spoke for the first time since leaving Facebook last month.
  • Systrom said "no one ever leaves a job because everything's awesome" when asked about his departure from Facebook.
  • He said he would like to see Instagram continue to succeed, even without him at the helm.
Lauren Goode and Kevin Systrom speak onstage at WIRED25 Summit: WIRED Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Tech Icons Of The Past & Future on October 15, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Matt Winkelmeyer | Getty Images
Lauren Goode and Kevin Systrom speak onstage at WIRED25 Summit: WIRED Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Tech Icons Of The Past & Future on October 15, 2018 in San Francisco, California.

Instagram's former CEO Kevin Systrom spoke publicly for the first time on Monday since leaving Facebook last month, saying "no one ever leaves a job because everything's awesome" when asked about why he stepped down.

"Work's hard," Systrom said after being asked if there were tensions when he left Instagram.

"In this case, there are no hard feelings at all. I'm excited to do something new. I think Instagram's in a really, really good place," he said at the Wired 25th anniversary summit in San Francisco.

Systrom and fellow Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger announced in late September that they were leaving the company. A week later, the company announced that Adam Mosseri, a longtime Facebook executive, would replace the pair as the new head of Instagram.

Tensions had been growing between the Instagram co-founders and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in recent months over a number of issues, including changes to the product, changes to the Instagram staff and Zuckerberg's increasing control over the unit, according to the The New York Times.

Systrom said he is using his free time to work on being a dad to his newborn daughter as well as self-improvement as he and Krieger figure out what their next move will be. He also said he's taking flying lessons from the same teacher who taught Sebastian Thrun, a former Google engineer who now runs a flying-car company, Kitty Hawk.

Systrom said he has zero regret about leaving Instagram and wants to see it succeed.

"If this thing triples in size and becomes like the most important company in the world, that will be an awesome outcome for me, even if I'm not running it," Systrom said.

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